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First 100 student start-ups through community

Idrætsfællesskabet is working to integrate vulnerable citizens into stable communities using sports as a connective factor. They are one of the many teams using entrepreneurial tools to achieve goals in SUND Hub, a Copenhagen Science City-located student-start-up community. Photo, Mikal Schlosser

University of Copenhagen passed an important milestone in January. The first 100 student projects have passed through SUND Hub, a student start-up community based at the university’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Half of the projects are now thriving as start-up companies with funding and turnover.

More ideas, greater success

SUND Hub was established in 2015 to embrace and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit among students. According to the Manager of the ‘Hub, Martin B. Justesen, that mission is increasingly successful year on year.

Of course, it’s a big deal for us to be able to celebrate the first 100 teams to pass through the Hub, and we’re proud of that. The last couple of years we have gained momentum. We include more teams per year than we did in the beginning. There are simply more good ideas”: Martin B. Justesen, Manager, SUND Hub, University of Copenhagen

Impressive survival rate

Starting a company is not the ambition for all teams that seek out the Hub. Many of them come, because they have identified a flaw in current solutions. Mainly in the healthcare sector. For these teams the primary motivation is to fix the flaw somehow. None-the-less 47 out of the 100 teams that have passed through the dark blue doors of the hub have built companies. Most of these have done well. Forty of them were still incorporated when they left the hub after a year of mentoring. 38 companies are still active in January 2020.
In 2019 a survey revealed that the best half of the SUND Hub start-up companies had raised funding totalling DKK 64 million and generated a turnover in excess of DKK 13 million.

More Problem Solving, Less Dragons Den

SUND Hub is a success, but they have had to make adjustments along the way. Martin B. Justesen distinguishes between ‘the one percent’ of all students who will always be interested in entrepreneurship and ‘the next 10 percent’ who may be more interested in learning the methods of entrepreneurship to use them for advanced problem-solving.

“We have changed the way we query and help because we want to accommodate the many SUND students who are not classic entrepreneurs as you see them on the television show Dragons’ Den. They do not have a cut-and-dried business idea and dollar signs in their eyes. Instead, they may have identified a health problem that they believe could be solved in a clever way”, explains Martin B. Justesen.

Revised Admission

Until now, students have been able to apply for admission to the SUND Hub all year round. The anniversary marks the phasing-in of a new system for entry into the hub. In the future, there will be three application deadlines per year.

SUND Hubs’ main program provides 12 months of incubation. In addition to this, students can enrol in various idea development programs. Most notably the programmes “Health Innovators” and “Challenge Track”.
The Hub is located just across the street from Panum; the primary location for the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.